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Khold : Phantom
(Moonfog - 2002)
Category : underrated
3,5 stars

The second part of this review I already wrote back in 2002, when I was still a DJ for the Dakka Dakka radioshow (which is still in business, by the way. Here's the website). Dakka Dakka received hundreds of CD's a year to give airplay to. A fair percentage of those were Death and Black Metal albums. I have to admit I'm not a big Black Metal fan. The number of bands I like from that genre, can be counted on one hand. Khold is one of those. Of all the Black Metal releases we received, 'Phantom' stood out because Khold chose not to take the easy road of playing very mean sounding songs as fast as possible. I never really liked the way of ultra fast drumming that's commonly used in Death and Black. I feel it doesn't add anything to the power of the songs, it just makes them sound spastic. Give me Old School Thrash Metal or Speed Metal double bass drums any time. Anyway, what made this CD stand out was down mainly to two reasons. The first one was the fact that Khold chose this slow to mid tempo grind, which gave them more space to work on sound and personality. For me that made it easier to appreciate the way the songs were made, and the way they managed to
weave an atmosphere of "cold evil" into them. The second reason was the production which by Black Metal standards was very clean and open. (What follows now is the old Dakka Dakka review.)

The critics of several magazines and online review websites weren't very positive about this album. "Too slow and not energetic enough", were the most often heard negative comments. Well, I guess those critics must've been sixteen year olds, or is the normal Black Metal fan such a conservative that he can't appreciate a band that approaches the genre from another angle? Actually, Phantom is one of the BEST Black Metal albums that ever reached me. Yes, it's not an extremely fast album. There are indeed only occasional bursts of speed. So, what? Since when has speed become a standard for measuring the quality of a song? By reducing the speed, these songs have more "groove" instead and that can't be a bad thing, can it? And is it not energetic enough? That remark is probably linked to the supposed lack of speed. Again I do not agree. There is enough energy, only it's not out of control. Or is it maybe that the Black Metal fan, who is used to a production that kneads all the instruments together in one ball of noise, is put off by the relatively open production of 'Phantom'?

I think that anyone, Black Metal fan or other, who does not see high velocity as an absolute must, has a chance of appreciating this album. Khold's music has a Gothic aspect as well, because of the slow rhythms and the dark atmosphere. If you're a into Gothic Metal, and if the "tortured pig" vocals don't bother you, check it out too. The same goes for fans of Doom Metal. One never knows...


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